Opportunities for fine dining may have been somewhat limited within the confines of Victor Verster prison in Paarl, but Nelson Mandela always enjoyed a small glass of semi-sweet Nederberg wine with his Sunday lunch during his incarceration. Today, Mandela’s legacy is set to become entwined with South Africa’s R20 billion (£1.75bn) wine industry.
I have to confess that in the grand scheme of wine drinking and enjoyment, sherry is not as high on my list as I feel it should be. So how come I am salivating at the prospect of opening the bottle of sherry waiting for me in the fridge at the moment and how come I have already consumed three of its ilk since I picked up half a dozen a month ago from Lea & Sandeman at a tenner a bottle ? The answer is simple. It’s simply delicious, no more, no less.
As I arrived at Moët et Chandon’s posh premises in Grosvenor Crescent to taste the new 2002 Dom Pérignon with its affable chef de cave Richard Geoffroy, I received an email from a friend looking for a 'special' bottle (possibly - but not necessarily - magnum) of champagne for a family friend's 90th birthday. ‘My impressionistic take is that you pay for the label with Dom Pérignon etc. So best to avoid'.
Not the World Cup this time, although well done Spain! No, Last Thursday evening I spent mostly taking my clothes off in public. First came the tie, off and into the audience, next the shirt, swirled above my head and into the audience. And lastly the trousers, off, over my head and whoosh, gone. It’s not something I do every day, I’d like you to understand, strutting and swaying on a stage to the sound of Christina Aguilera singing Lady Marmalade. I was in good company, the company that is, of my fellow Semillons.
You have savings, £50,000, let’s say, and you’d like to know how best to invest your money. You leave it in the bank, which before the recession, when interest rates were high, would have given you a decent return. Today, it’s festering frustratingly.